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UDC to revise constituency allocation

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President, Duma Boko has revealed that contrary to assertions by some parties within the umbrella that they will field their own candidates, UDC is working on a robust model of identifying competent candidates to represent the party in the 57 constituencies in the 2019 general elections.

“The constituencies belong to the UDC and are allocated to the parties to manage and choose the best candidates. Even after each party elects their preferred candidate, we will scrutinize the candidates and replace those we deem not fit enough by those we think can win it for us from any party under the UDC,” he said.

The umbrella party according to Boko is looking for the best candidates in all the constituencies and will not be intimidated by the incumbent party in respective constituencies. “UDC will have to audit what their prospects are in various constituencies to see if we have the best candidates, if not we will look from others within the umbrella and if they are available then we will take them to represent the party.”

Boko was nonetheless not specific as to which party may not have competent candidates. “We need competent representatives; merit only. There is what is called meritocracy and that is exactly what we will do. Even the BNF will have to audit itself to see if we have the best candidates to represent the party,” Boko highlighted. The issue of who is going to contest where has already gained momentum within the UDC and the president has conceded they are still in negotiations.

Already BCP leader, Dumelang Saleshando is running around searching for a constituency. It appears Maun East is the ideal area as the incumbent party-BMD is yet to come up with the ‘best’ candidate in the words of Boko and it is much possible that the UDC leadership could negotiate with the party to field Saleshando there as the best candidate to contest in 2019.

Boko said unlike the ruling BDP which has reached ‘sunk-base’, UDC as an alternative wants to be a different party that is based on competency. “You see the BDP appoints cronies and friends and ignore competent people because they are not in their party. So that is why we want the best candidates that will lead government authorities.”

UDC will look for candidates who possess at least a bachelor’s degree as they are adaptable and flexible and can perform any issue at hand. The party, according to Boko will not look for hungry representatives looking for employment in parliament. “Only people with a proven track-record of their socio-economic background; have charm for voters and have expertise on certain areas that can rescue us and contribute ideas.”

The current crop of BDP legislators are insufficient hence the country is stagnant with ideas that can move the country forward, Boko suggests. On the other hand BMD has hit the ground running in preparations for the 2019 elections in its 14 constituencies. “As the negotiations and discussions on wards sharing and allocation continues at our 14 UDC given constituencies and all other UDC constituencies allocated to the UDC contracting parties, we encourage our members to carry with them at all times the spirit of unity, the essence of sharing and the respect of territorial integrity so as to ensure unity within the UDC,” mouthpiece Winfred Rasina said in a statement.

The UDC will meet for its congress on the 24th of next month in Moshupa and the issue of constituencies will once again take centre stage before the leadership finalizes it at a later date. The party constitution will further be adopted at the said congress. Already, the NEC has been slashed to 16-scrapping the conveners with all contracting parties having equal representation of four members.

BOKO ON NEW PARTIES

Boko believes that cropping of new political parties aides BDP to maintain power. “It should be a two horse race: moribund BDP and the resurgent UDC,” he said with a smile. “If not so it appears they support what the BDP is doing”. On Alliance for Progressives (AP) Boko said, “We want to be a united force in 2019 and if they want to join we are available subject to negotiations,” the sophisticated leader said before adding, “I understand the new party (Real Alternative Party) is a socialist and if they want to join us we have a room for them as group members and they can affiliate to UDC through us. They can complicate things if individually they would want to join the UDC because time has gone.”

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.

 

 

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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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